Cleavable additives for degradable, recyclable thermoset plastics

Jeremiah Johnson with Peyton Shieh and Keith Husted

Graphic visualizing cleavage of additives

Thermosets play a key role in the modern plastics industry, comprising about 18% of polymeric materials with a worldwide production of 65 billion tons per year. Their high density of chemical crosslinks results in excellent mechanical properties for high-performance applications, but prevents them from being readily reprocessed once formed. As a result, the vast majority of these materials must be incinerated or sent to landfills. This team is developing recyclable versions of existing high-performance thermosets by incorporating small quantities of a degradable co-monomer. The team aims to provide a solution to significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste generated while creating new revenue streams from recovered plastics and reinforcing fibers, paving the way to a greener, more sustainable future.

Watch Peyton Shieh present Cleavable Additives for Degradable, Recyclable Thermoset Plastics at IdeaStream 2021.